Bike rides commemorate National Historic Trail

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 9, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, cyclists will travel the 54-mile route on Sunday, Nov. 12, said Tina Smiley of the National Park Service.

Put on by the SEMO Freedom Foundation &045; an organization committed to raising scholarship funds for the youth of Dallas, Lowndes and Montgomery counties &045; the freedom bike ride will start at Selma’s Brown Chapel AME Church and end at the state capitol building, said Smiley, who hopes the bike rides will gain a dedicated following.

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Smiley said the bike rides will take place four times a year on significant dates during the voting rights movement.

On Nov. 12, 1996, the U.S. Congress established the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Remaining bike rides will occur on March 21, 2007, commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and Aug. 6, 2007, commemorating the 42nd anniversary when the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, Smiley said.

On March 30 through April 4, the fourth and final bike ride of the year will commemorate the King Freedom Ride, Smiley said.

Smiley said the idea of the freedom bike ride sprang from Illinois cyclist Mike Palombi, who maps out his own annual civil rights tour throughout Alabama each year. Palombi passes through Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Moundville before reaching Selma, Smiley said. Palombi posted journal entries about his travels titled &8220;My Civil Rights Tour&8221; on the Web site

For more information, call Smiley at (334) 877-1984 or e-mail .